I know I’m gonna catch a lot of flack for this. History dictates that people (almost always) lose their capacity to reason when their way of life is challenged in any way, shape or form. It doesn’t even really matter how or why.
This type of behavior doesn’t just apply to our present day. If you had proposed that the earth revolved around the sun in the 1500’s (as opposed to the sun revolving around the earth, which is what the church vehemently dictated) you’d be threatened with torture and/or death. If you proposed a law in America in the 1800’s that would make slavery illegal, you’d likely be shot.
These examples are a glaring indication that human beings don’t give up the things they believe in (or simply want) so easily, even though they have been proven scientifically or morally wrong. The fact is, people either don’t want to believe that they’re wrong, or they have *no desire whatsoever* to give up the things they feel entitled to, even when those things impose on another human being’s way of life. They will fight tooth and nail and often without conscience or reservation to protect what they feel is theirs.
Now before you lose your shit, please know that I very much appreciate the entertainment aspect of sports, and I COMPLETELY understand why people love them so much. Those who work the daily grind need a way to escape and have a little fun. As an entertainer, I know how important it is for human beings to have something that helps them detach from, the often, depressing routine of their daily lives (I make music for that very reason). I’m also aware of people’s desire to be associated with a specific team because it provides them with a sense of belonging. Everyone wants to feel like they’re welcome somewhere.
So why do I think sports impair human evolution? Because it creates an obvious division between people.
At this point, you might think that I’m contradicting myself, but I’m gonna stop you right there. Sports create “families” of people who associate with specific teams, but it pits those families against each other.
“So long as they (the Proles) continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance. Left to themselves, like cattle turned loose upon the plains of Argentina, they had reverted to a style of life that appeared to be natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern…Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.”
― George Orwell, 1984
I was at a Super Bowl party with my friends a few years ago. Now, I’m obviously not a football fan. To me, football just looks like a bunch of grown men in tights fighting over a pig skin ball (It seems ridiculous to me in so many ways, but as a musician, I’ve seen a lot of ridiculous things happen on stage so I’m not here to presume that football is any more or less ridiculous than the music business). What I am here to discuss, however, is how sports, very obviously, creates a sense of superiority over others who don’t side with you. And not just football, but ALL sports – from amateur to professional. I watched a room full of friends quickly regress into cavemen, taking the game *way* too seriously and getting angry with one another when opposing teams were doing better than theirs.
And look, I know people were just having a little fun , but have you ever heard the horror stories about Oakland Raiders fans? I’ve read articles about how fans of opposing teams have been shot and killed by Raiders fans just because they weren’t rooting for the Raiders. Acts of violence happen all the time at soccer (football) games in Europe. I could Google case after case of violence due to sports, but I don’t need to because it simply can’t be refuted.
I’m not saying that every sports fan in the world is guilty of committing violent acts against others. What I *am* saying is until we stop advocating and/or glorifying the division between people, whether it’s sports, religion, race, or anything else that creates a sense of superiority based on petty differences, we will never learn how to work together to solve our problems.
Now, don’t confuse what I’m saying about sports as an attack on competitiveness. I think competition is a healthy and positive mechanism when it’s used in conjunction with helping to make people’s lives better and/or move the human race forward. A good example of this is the X-Prize foundation which is non-profit organization that designs and manages public competitions intended to encourage technological development that could benefit mankind. Another good example is the Nobel Peace Prize. The fact of the matter is, competition has brought us some wonderful innovation over the years.
I originally intended to go a little deeper into this subject, but I’d be willing to bet that a lot of you have already skimmed past the parts you didn’t like and made your judgements. I’ve made my point. It’s either thought provoking to you or it’s not. Either way, I challenge you to think about it objectively and imagine a world where we don’t create any more self imposed division between one another that compounds what our world and religious leaders *already* impose on us.
“United we stand, divided we fall.” ~ Aesop
– Jesse Scott